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January 12, 2012 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-12

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the bhsdide
U The Michigan DailyI michigandailycomI Thursday, January12, 2012

'U' student groups keep diversity in motion
- Proma Khosla, Daily Arts Writer -

Diversity It's one of the most recurring
words in the University's literature. It's
a word thrown around in promotional
pamphlets or for applicants to define in
their admissions essays. The 'U' is home
to students from all walks of life, but be-
yond basic demographics, where is this
represented? On campus, as in the world
at large, one of the most prominent mani-
festations of cultural diversity is in the
arts - in this case, dance.
"People who are from all over can enjoy this one type of ac-
tivity," said LSA junior Jackie Davis, of the Arabian Dance En-
semble. "It's not limited to a certain type of people ... and we get
to show off that kind of dance that people aren't usually exposed
to and we can show them how cool it is.n
While history books and classes can educate people about
culture, dance is a firsthand way of immersing oneself in those
worlds. Dozens of teams at the 'U' perform and compete, each
as distinct and varied as steps in a dance.
As of 2000, RhythM Tap Ensemble has been the foremost
tap dance group on campus. It's one of the core groups for
Dance Mix, an event that showcases different teams' dancing
near the end of each winter term.

"I think Dance Mix is probably the best show on campus for
dance because we try to ... include a lot of variety and diversity
in the show in terms of different dance styles," LSA senior and
RhythM president Chelsea Kimball said. "I think that we try to
show the audience something new every year."
Since tap requires precision with complex footwork, most
RhythM members have prior tap experience.
"There are people who have tapped every day since they
were three and there are some people, like me, who stopped
tapping once they were in high school and picked it back up in
college," Kimball said. "So most people have had tap experience
but everyone has their different levels of experience.'
Though tap is a commonly known style of dance, RhythM
dancers keep it fresh for audiences, introducing new genera-
tions to the world of tap dance. This includes guest perfor-
mances with groups like Impact, which fuses popular American
dance styles, and the lyrical ballet group, Salto.
RhythM also performs full-fledged collaborative pieceswith
fusion group PURE Dance Xtreme in the annual PureRhythM
show. RhythM performs with other groups in the show, while
PURE simultaneously performs in a more noticeably lyrical
RhythM also collaborated with musical group Groove last
"That was also really cool because tap dance fits pretty well
with percussion," Kimball said.
The collaborations are among Kimball's favorite things
about RhythM, and in her opinion, the main thing that sets it
apart from other groups.
"Our numbers with PURE are ... something that we try to
always keep in the show," she said. "I think it's important and
I think the audience enjoys it too because it's something differ-
ent. It's not the same type of number (that people)see from both
of us individually."

"You have to make some compromises to incorporate both
styles," Kimball added. "There are some things that you can't do
in tap shoes and some things that the PURE dancers can't do.
It's kind of a blend."
Dance represents a constant to many students involved in
campus dance organizations. According to Kimball, it remains a
priority to RhythM members as they choreograph and contrib-
ute song ideas together.
"I think dance took up most of the girls on our team's lives
before coming to college, but I think it's still a huge part of ev-
"People who are from
all over can enjoy this
one type of activity.
It's not limited to a
certain type of people."
Jackie Davis, LSA junior
eryone's life," Kimball explained. "There are a couple girls on
the team who still teach regularly at their dance studios that
they used to go to. For others of us, we only do the RhythM
practices and performances, but it's still a big part of our college
experience as well!'
See DANCE, Page 3B

-I wekend essentials F

Ah bluegrass: that quintessential American musical
genre, in which fiddle, banjo and mandolin intertwine.
Take the time to journey to The Ark on Main Street at
8 p.m. tomorrow to hear Mountain Heart, a bluegrass
band that pays homage to previous greats and knows
how to give the music of the South a true home here in
Ann Arbor. Tickets from $30.

A foreign import is invading the Michigan Theater this
Saturday: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Welt am Draht,"
or "World on a Wire." Influenced by Kubrick, Vonnegut
and Phillip K. Dick, this three-and-a-half-hour sci-fi epic
has only recently been made publicly available. For a
night of supercomputers, simulations and cybernetic
conspiracies, swing by at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Vusi Mahlasela, aka "The Voice," hails from South
Africa and will grace UMMA tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. He
performed at Nelson Mandela's 1994 inauguration and
now he's here in Ann Arbor. With music that addresses
social issues like apartheid, audiences will be reminded
of the importance of the arts in the struggle for human
right . Admission is free.

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